Morrison balks at 'saviour status'
Goalie hopes building a wall in net will result in NHL contract
By Elliott Pap, Vancouver Sun
November 18, 2011 4:10 AM
Giants goalie Adam Morrison has posted a 2.43 goals against average since joining the team in a trade.
Photograph by: Steve Bosch, PNG Files, Vancouver Sun
It's rare to hear a 20-year-old junior hockey player citing lines from a Pink Floyd tune but there was Adam Morrison, Vancouver Giants netminder, talking this week about building another brick in the wall.
This required some further probing. Pink Floyd peaked in the 1970s and Morrison was born in 1991. Chances are he wasn't listening to Roger Waters and David Gilmour while still in diapers, or even preschool. And, in fact, he wasn't.
Turns out 'another brick in the wall' is among the mantras Morrison has absorbed from Giants' goalie coach Paul Fricker, who is 51 and probably did listen to Floyd back in the day.
Morrison is taking the advice to heart. The lanky 6-3 White Rock native is trying to rebuild his resumé after the Philadelphia Flyers, the NHL team that drafted him 81st overall in 2009, opted to let him walk last spring rather than sign him. With that brick falling, Morrison is putting another one up since his Oct. 4 trade to the Giants from the Saskatoon Blades.
Morrison is 11-3-0-1 as a Giant and a sublime 9-1-0-0 in his last 10 starts. He's helped lead the G-Men to first place in the B.C. Division but doesn't feel he's worthy of saviour status - at least not yet. The Giants will attempt to win their fifth straight tonight when they entertain the Victoria Royals at Pacific Coliseum.
"I don't think the success we're having can be pointed directly at me," said a modest Morrison. "I think everybody is doing a lot of things right and we're coming together as a team. That's what it comes down to in the end."
The Giants are indeed playing superbly without the puck and, in their last 11 games, haven't allowed more than 30 shots on net. It's helped Morrison to a 2.43 goals against average and .906 save percentage. The player he replaced, Brendan Jensen, had a 5.00 GAA and .823 save rate in four games before Giants' GM Scott Bonner pulled the trigger on the earlyseason trade.
"Coming here and being part of this situation has been very fulfilling for myself," Morrison said. "Just getting the chance to play on a nightly basis is a nice change. I'm very happy."
Despite being jettisoned by the Flyers' organization, Morrison bears no grudge toward the NHL team. He had mononucleosis last season, missed 1˝ months after Christmas and was relegated to the No. 2 role behind Steven Stanford, who is now tending goal for the UBC Thunderbirds. Morrison didn't see a minute of action for Saskatoon in the 2011 WHL playoffs.
"It wasn't the best timing getting mono," Morrison said, shrugging. "But it's a part of hockey, part of life. Injuries happen and illnesses happen. I can't really regret anything that I did or anything that happened. It was disappointing I didn't get a contract from the Flyers but I did see it coming. That's the way it goes.
"I'm just enjoying every day here right now. You don't realize how quick your junior career is going to go when you're a little 16-or 17-year-old kid. You think it's going to be a long road but it's gone in the blink of an eye."
Morrison still intends to pursue a pro hockey career and understands that if he can continue his strong performance with the Giants, and perhaps take them somewhere in the playoffs, he may be given another opportunity. He is pretty much prepared for anything.
"Going pro, that's been a dream of mine for my entire life," he said. "Every kid dreams of playing in the NHL and that hasn't strayed for me. Obviously I know I'll have to start somewhere but I'm not too focused on what's going to happen next year. I'm trying to stay focused on the goal we have here with the Giants. We'll wait until the end of the season, and after the playoffs, to determine what will come in the future."
Goalie coach Fricker thinks Morrison is beginning to figure out what it will take for him to move up a level.
"Adam has a really good blend of both the technical side and the athletic side, it's effective and it works," Fricker explained. "But there is more to making a career than just skill and ability and size. For instance: consistency, maturity and composure. I think Adam is starting to get a glimmer of some of those things."
G-NOTES: Giant defenceman Brett Kulak, 17, is ranked 12th among WHL skaters in Central Scouting's first list for the 2012 NHL entry draft. Kulak has four points and is team-leading plus-16. Listed at 6-1 and 180 pounds, the native of Stony Plain, Alta., was the Giants' ninth-round bantam pick in 2009.
Tonight vs Victoria Royals 7: 30 p.m. at Pacific Coliseum 650 AM
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